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A community council in Wales has faced criticism from the Public Services Welsh Ombudsman

A community council in Wales has faced criticism from the Public Services Ombudsman for refusing to change its ‘Welsh-only’ policy.

 

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales said Cynwyd Community Council had let residents down by not providing all its documents in English, as well as Welsh. He also accused the council of “intransigence”.

Karen Roden, a member of the public who lodged the original complaint, said she fully backs the Welsh language but claimed that local democracy was being hit with non-speakers of the Welsh language unable to access important documents.

Shadow Minister for Heritage, Culture & the Welsh Language, Suzy Davies, said:

 

“The point of Welsh Government legislation in this area was to provide parity for speakers of both official languages, and to ensure that no one is excluded.

“The council has every right to conduct its business in Welsh if it chooses as long as it makes sure that non-Welsh language speakers are able to access that business - community councils represent everyone in their wards.  If it’s about direct participation in a meeting, then translation facilities are needed.  Agendas and summaries of minutes are short and can be produced bilingually whichever language the council uses in its meetings.

“The community council on which I sat held all its meetings through the medium of Welsh but we respected the choice of residents to use which language they preferred when engaging with us. What Cynwyd Community Council has done appears to border on the antagonistic, which lets down both the Welsh and English speaking residents. 

“The compromises put forward by the Public Services Ombudsman were perfectly reasonable and this matter could probably have been resolved with a minimum of fuss – and without the alarming headlines.”

Photo BBC Wales